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Reid sets a right scorching pace to claim his Games places

 

By Brian Hill

Northern Ireland sprint champion Leon Reid produced the performances of his life in yesterday's 200 metres races at the British Championships in Birmingham.

In the space of three hours he took an incredible quarter of a second off his Personal Best to snatch bronze and set a new NI record of 20.38 seconds. This easily beats Paul Brizzel's 2000 record of 20.54 secs and qualifies Reid for the London World Championships this summer and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year.

No-one anticipated that the 22 year old Bristol man would record such a time in the final event of the day which was won by Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in a Championship record of 20.18 secs. Despite being drawn in the outside lane, NI champion Reid fought the whole way in the home straight to snatch bronze behind silver medalist Danny Talbot.

Earlier in his heat, Leon set a PB of 20.59 secs when finishing second to Talbot. as star sprinters such as Adam Gemili were left trailing in a world class field.

Delighted Reid exclaimed: "What about that, then? I knew I was in good form after a long period of injury but I wasn't expecting these times. Maybe I am a Championship performer."

Reid will now be the star attraction at Wednesday's big athletics meeting at the Mary Peters track.

His qualification for the Games now means that 11 NI athletes have made the standard for Australia. Top sprinter Amy Foster got a second qualification mark in Switzerland when she ran a time of 11.42 secs.

There was also significant NI interest in the Women's 100 metres hurdles where Gold Coast qualified Mollie Courtney just missed out on a medal when she finished fourth in the final in a time of 13.58 secs against a head wind of 1.4 secs. The race was won by new hurdles find Alicia Barrett in 13.26 secs.

Courtney will also be racing at the Mary Peters track on Wednesday.

Belfast's Megan Marrs, who was competing for Hounslow, will be pleased with her fifth place finish in 13.71 secs. Megan had earlier set yet another PB in her heat with a time of 13.67 secs.

In the Men's steeplechase, Games bound Adam Kirk-Smith stuck doggedly to his task of working his way through the field in the latter stages of the race.

The 26 year old Derry City man eventually finished sixth in 8 mins 45.37 secs which is his second fastest ever.

In the Women's hammer, a nervous Hayley Murray, who is eligible for Games consideration, finished eighth in 57.02 metres which is short of her recent NI record of 59.49 metres.

Belfast Telegraph

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